Time for tea?

‘Life is like a cup of tea, it’s all in how you make it’ – unknown

I’ve never been a tea drinker, although I do enjoy the occasional herbal tea (i’m into chamomile with vanilla and roasted chicory root at the moment!), but coffee is my hot drink of preference. Mainly decaf, although I do have one caffeinated coffee first thing in the morning. So I was really interested to read about a recent scientific study which showed that people who drink 2-3 cups of tea plus 2-3 cups of coffee per day are 32% less likely to have a stroke and 28% less likely to develop dementia when compared to people who don’t drink tea or coffee at all. Does that include decaf coffee or herbal tea? What about our daily intake of water, we are all supposed to drink at least 2 litres a day, does that include hot drinks? It was time to find out!

Time for a hot drink (Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com)

The idea that we should all be drinking 2 litres of water a day is based on the idea that the human body needs to take in the same amount as it loses to keep balanced. Of course we are all different and some of us may need more or less but 2 litres is an estimate for the average person. If we are very active or overweight, or the weather is very hot, we will need more. Depending on who you listen to will change what you consider to be ‘water’. Some will say any hot or cold drink as long as it isn’t alcoholic, caffeinated or fizzy as these dehydrate rather than hydrate. Others will say the same but also exclude milk and fruit juice which contain sugar and could be considered ‘food’, whilst some say it is plain water only. The majority though tend to support the first option, although sugary drinks are best avoided.

Coffee drinkers rejoice! Recent research by the University of Aberdeen found that drinking coffee increases our lifespan and prevents heart disease. A Harvard study agreed with this finding, adding that drinking between 2 and 5 cups per day is linked to a lower likelihood of type 2 diabetes, liver and endometrial cancers, Parkinson’s, dementia and depression. Other studies have shown that regularly drinking coffee protects against colorectal, oral and breast cancers too. Coffee even contains fibre, although not a lot, it’s much more than tea or juice.

Tea time! (Photo by Teejay on Pexels.com)

For the tea drinkers amongst us, there are plenty of things to be happy about too, although many of them are lessened if you drink your tea with milk. Most of the benefits come from drinking black or green tea, as well as chamomile, rooibos and ginger, and include improved insulin sensitivity, healthy blood pressure, preventing blood clots, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, and reducing the risk of developing cancer. Tea contains polyphenols and antioxidant properties which researchers believe may increase insulin activity and protect against inflammation and carcinogens. Tea also contains tiny micronutrients called flavonoids which can help our body perform better, for example, theanine can help control blood pressure and lower stress.

So what about decaffeinated drinks? I’m particularly sensitive to caffeine and struggle to sleep if I have one after about 11 am (I rarely go to bed before midnight so that is a massive impact from one dose of caffeine). The good news is that most of the beneficial effects seem to come from things other than caffeine. In relation to risk of type 2 diabetes, drinking four cups of decaf coffee per day reduces the risk by 20%, whilst caffeinated coffee reduces the risk by 25%.

Fit in some squats (Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com)

Another benefit of drinking tea and coffee? Waiting for the kettle to boil! No, really, I mean it. It’s a great opportunity to fit in some tiny health tweaks, a few squats or lunges, or a quick on-the-spot jog! Or how about standing press ups against the kitchen cabinets? Building upper body strength is really important as we age. If your balance needs some work, how about using the time to practice standing on one leg? Alternatively, take the time to do some stretches, particularly good if you spend a lot of the day in a seated position, working at a desk or driving for example.

So the tiny tweak this week is to do some physical activity every time we boil the kettle! There are also other tiny tweaks we can make, such as gradually reducing the amount of sugar in our drinks, trying our tea and coffee without milk, and increasing our liquid intake. What will you do this week?

Until next time xx

7 comments

  1. I am someone who drinks a lot of tea & coffee in a day; at least two cups of tea and about 5 cups of coffee. So am pleased to read about the possible benefits! Now how to give up sugar….

    Liked by 1 person

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